Ryan Braun suspended rest of year

Updated: July 23, 2013, 6:12 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Major League Baseball has suspended Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun without pay for the remainder of the 2013 season.

Braun will not contest the suspension, which was meted out for "violations of the Basic Agreement and its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program," according to a statement released by MLB.

"As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect," Braun said in the statement. "I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it ... has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization.

"I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed -- all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love."

The suspension includes the final 65 games of the Brewers' season and any potential postseason games this year. As a result, Braun will lose $3.25 million.

According to an Associated Press source, 50 games of the penalty were connected to Biogenesis. The additional 15 games stemmed from Braun's actions during the grievance that overturned his positive test from October 2011. The suspension will count as a first violation of the drug program, the source told the AP.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin addressed the media ahead of the team's 5-3 loss to the San Diego Padres on Monday night.

"As a general manager, I'm somewhat happy that this is over with so we can move forward," Melvin said. "I talked to Ryan earlier on, I know he's addressed the players ... our focus will be on the field starting with tonight's game."

"We're certainly disappointed in the news that we received today," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said after the team's defeat. "The suspension obviously affects us the rest of the year and what we do and where we go."

The Brewers officially replaced Braun on their 25-man roster Tuesday, recalling outfielder Khris Davis from Triple-A Nashville.

Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said the team still supports Braun.

"We all went up to him and said we support you anyway,'' Lucroy said after the Brewers' loss. "We understand it's a tough situation. He came out. He said his peace and got done. We forgive him. I don't think anybody here is going to hold a grudge.''

Braun's mother, Diane, also said she supports for her son despite his suspension.

"I will always love and support my son," she told USA Today Sports. "That will never change."

Dusty Baker, manager of the division rival Cincinnati Reds, wasn't quite as forgiving.

"I guess this gives an example to the kids what not to do,'' Baker said.

The Dodgers' Skip Schumaker said he thinks Braun should hand over his MVP award to teammate Matt Kemp, who finished second in the 2011 balloting.

"In my opinion, he should be suspended -- lifetime ban. One strike, you're out. It's enough. It's ridiculous," Schumaker told reporters. "He lied to a lot of people. I was convinced, after that MVP, that he didn't do it."

Braun's high school coach, Steve Thompson, told the Los Angeles Times he's "disappointed [Braun] did do it."

"Acknowledging he did something wrong is a good thing," Thompson said. "He's hurt his image and now he's going to have to repair it."


Braun As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions.

-- Ryan Braun

After MLB's original meeting with Braun on June 29, at which he refused to answer questions about Biogenesis, he requested a second meeting, a source familiar with the discussions told T.J. Quinn of ESPN's "Outside The Lines." Braun, after realizing the significance of the evidence against him from questions in the first meeting, decided to meet again to strike a deal that would limit his suspension to this season, according to the source.

It is because of that deal that Braun's suspension was announced Monday, the source told Quinn. The plan remains for the rest of the suspensions stemming from the investigation to be announced all at once.

Those suspensions will include injured New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, with the source saying the evidence against Rodriguez is "far beyond" what MLB had on Braun. The length of Rodriguez's suspension is expected to be affected by MLB's belief that he interfered with the investigation.

The Yankees do not expect Rodriguez to be suspended imminently, sources familiar with the investigation and the third baseman told ESPNNewYork.com.

While the evidence against Rodriguez related to his alleged link to Biogenesis was more substantial than what MLB had on Braun, one source familiar with the investigation said Rodriguez was nonetheless "trying to make a deal."

Rodriguez met with MLB investigators on July 12 but it was not known whether he refused to answer MLB's questions at that meeting. He denied a plea deal with the league in a July 17 interview with WFAN radio.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team had not been given any heads up from MLB regarding a possible suspension and had no idea when, or if, any discipline was forthcoming for Rodriguez.

"We've been kept out of the process," Cashman said.

While avoiding discussion of Rodriguez, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said his first impression of Braun's suspension is that he's guilty.

"You don't accept a deal unless you were guilty," Girardi said. "It's disappointing. It's just another black eye for our game. I know this game is very resilient and there have been a lot of scandals over the years, but you get tired of it."

While MLB may now be focusing its attention to Rodriguez, the Texas Rangers say they have heard nothing involving their slugger tied to the Biogenesis investigation.

"There's nothing new on Nelson [Cruz]'s situation," Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan said Monday. "I have no insight to what the commissioner's office at MLB is doing."

For his part, Cruz kept his comments on Braun's situation brief following the Rangers' 3-0 win over the Yankees, saying simply, "I guess it is what it is. I don't have any comment."

Braun, the 2011 MVP, was commended by MLBPA association executive director Michael Weiner for accepting the punishment.

"I am deeply gratified to see Ryan taking this bold step," Weiner said in a statement. "It vindicates the rights of all players under the Joint Drug Program. It is good for the game that Ryan will return soon to continue his great work both on and off the field."

Last week, Weiner said that the MLBPA wouldn't fight for any players who might be suspended when faced with overwhelming evidence that they used performance-enhancing drugs.

Braun has been among the more than one dozen players under investigation for ties to Biogenesis, a closed anti-aging clinic in Florida linked with the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs. MLB officials have been interviewing players, who have been represented by the union and their own lawyers.

This is not the first time Braun has run afoul of the league's drug-testing policy -- the 29-year-old outfielder tested positive for elevated testosterone levels in 2012. However, he successfully appealed his 50-game suspension.

The penalty was overturned by baseball arbitrator Shyam Das after Braun argued that the collector of his urine samples in the fall of 2011, Dino Laurenzi Jr., did not follow protocol. The case marked the first time a baseball player has successfully challenged a drug-related penalty in a grievance.

Braun has hit .298 with nine home runs and 38 RBIs this year for the Brewers, who entered play Monday with a 41-56 record. He missed most of June and a week in July because of an injured thumb and time on bereavement leave.

Information from T.J. Quinn of ESPN's "Outside The Lines," ESPN.com senior baseball writer Jerry Crasnick, ESPNNewYork.com's Wallace Matthews, ESPNDallas.com's Todd Wills and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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